Richard Beene

Wednesday, Jul 18 2012 04:00 AM

RICHARD BEENE: Bakersfield Observed, a blog about life, media, politics and people

By Richard Beene

There are few things as entertaining as watching the subject of a local investigation squirm, lose his cool and resort to name calling when pressed to answer a simple question. The latest case of bad form involved Michael Galloway, a local entrepreneur who apparently has built a pretty good business through his for-profit website (Don't confuse with being the official arm of the church) The business has been the subject of numerous investigations and fines, and last week KBAK's Kurt Rivera followed up on a complaint that the company had withheld payment to a contractor. Galloway turned ugly when Rivera pressed him for answers. "You're an angry little Hispanic man. Geraldo. Isn't your name Geraldo? Is your name Geraldo? You're dressed like a pinhead. You are a pinhead," Galloway said while being filmed. Rivera didn't back off and Galloway ended the interview with yet another racial slur: "Goodbye little man. Go eat some tacos.'" Really Michael? Seems not even a website with the name of can buy one class.


Christine Zimmerman is a local Chevron employee who has been house hunting in one of the tightest real estate markets in recent memory. Unfortunately, the supply of homes is near an all time low, and what she is encountering is all too common. "Yesterday, we found 'the house:' price, location, amenities, aesthetics, the entire package. It was newly advertised, and we were enthusiastic. I contacted the local real estate company whose ad we found first thing this morning, using their online form to request a showing... The second email from the company explained to me that the property had been 'contingent' since April as a short sale, agreed to between seller and buyer pending bank approval." Christine wondered if this was ethical, but experts told me in this case, it is. Short sales take months, and backup offers are discouraged, so the homes remain listed in case the deal falls through. Gary Belter of Coldwell Banker told me reasonably priced homes are "going in a heartbeat" via multiple offers. "It's a crazy market and there just isn't enough inventory," he said, "and the process of a short sale can really drag out the process." In the meantime, good luck to Christine and her husband in their search for a new home.


A pox on the family who left Jastro Park littered with candy wrappers, used paper plates and gift wrapping paper after holding a pinata party Saturday. The broken pinata and other assorted pieces of trash were left exactly where they fell onto the grass. Is it really too much to ask parents to clean up after their children?


Meanwhile for every example of bad behavior someone, somewhere is trying to do the right thing. Just two blocks from Jastro Park and the pinata party, a woman walking her dog casually picks up discarded cups and trash as she makes her afternoon rounds.


Hats off to Rich Johnson and his crew of meticulous painters for giving my 1909 downtown bungalow a fresh coat of paint that makes the old place look nearly new. Old homes are like relationships; they need a lot of love and care to keep fresh, and Johnson is an expert in breathing new life into houses that have seen better days. Johnson came to me via word of mouth and local recommendations. Give him a call as (661) 706-1077 if you're in the market for an expert painter.


Congratulations to Coral Rose ("Coco") Chapman, the 6-year-old daughter of KEDC director Richard Chapman who just also happens to be a terrific young piano composer. Her original composition was among a handful chosen from over 500 statewide entries. Earlier this month, she performed her piece at the Composers Today Symposium in San Diego (held during the annual convention of the Music Teachers Association of California). She attends Harmony Road Music School in Bakersfield.

Richard Beene is president and CEO of The Californian. He blogs at These are his opinions, not necessarily those of The Californian. Send him tips at

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